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Shaping Urban Planning and Development for Tomorrow: What We Shared at the World Cities Summit 2024 

June 26, 2024

Attending the recent World Cities Summit 2024 in Singapore was a transformative experience for us at PropertyGuru Group. The theme, "Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Rejuvenate, Reinvent, Reimagine," aligned perfectly with our mission to adapt urban spaces for future generations.

Ms Ho-Strangas, Managing Director of Data and Software Solutions at Property Guru Group, was at the World Cities Summit to deliver a presentation on DataSense — our proprietary market intelligence platform that leverages big data and AI to provide actionable insights for decision-makers in urban planning and development. By harnessing vast amounts of data generated by digital interactions, we can develop an understanding of how people live, work, and thrive in cities. 

Here is a snippet of the insights that we presented at the event:

Challenges in a Fast-Changing World

Addressing the pressing issues that cities face today, we highlighted the concept of living in a BANI world — Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear, and Incomprehensible. Among the challenges discussed were:

  • Rising costs of living, job security and climate change concerns impacting housing affordability and home ownership aspirations, with housing prices outpacing wage growth in certain cities
  • Commercial spaces are being compelled to redefine their relevance and utility as flexible work arrangements look to stay for knowledge workers
  • Retail moving online, prompting malls, and retail spaces to relook at their strategies.
  • The increase in specific sub-communities with varying needs, such as the ageing population and double income families choosing to have fewer or no children

How DataSense Helps City Developers Tackle Urban Planning Challenges

To meet these challenges, we introduced DataSense, a proprietary platform that brings together large data sets from multiple reliable sources and extracts intelligent, actionable insights for urban planning, development and more. DataSense focuses on three core pillars:

  • Live: Analysing liveability factors like housing affordability, access to amenities, environmental quality, and transportation infrastructure. This data helps identify areas for improvement and enables targeted interventions to enhance quality of life for residents
  • Work: Understanding workplace trends, commute patterns, and the impact of flexible work arrangements. Insights from DataSense inform policies related to transportation planning, infrastructure development, and the revitalisation of central business districts
  • Thrive: Assessing the success of retail spaces and other public amenities using footfall, demographic data, and behavioural insights. This information guides the development of new spaces that cater to the evolving needs and preferences of urban communities

Case Studies and Practical Applications of DataSense

Ms Ho-Strangas shared several case studies at the World Cities Summit, illustrating the practical applications of DataSense in helping to create smart, sustainable, and liveable cities. 

Measuring the Liveability of Cities

Source: DataSense by PropertyGuru For Business

One case study highlighted the use of the PropertyGuru Liveability Index to objectively measure traditionally subjective factors contributing to the desirability of a community — such as economic viability, employment opportunities, or easy access to amenities. The Liveability Index enables professionals in urban planning and development to:

  • Benchmark existing neighbourhoods
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Prioritise aspects of development during planning stages
Measuring the Impact of Flexible Work Arrangements

Source: DataSense by PropertyGuru For Business

Another case study focused on the impact of flexible work arrangements on the energy of downtown CBDs and public infrastructure. By understanding traffic patterns and footfall in central business districts, DataSense offered insights that traditional office occupancy rates cannot provide. This data helps local councils and policymakers to:

  • Enhance the vibrancy of downtown areas
  • Provide conveniences and incentives
  • Optimise infrastructure for changing work patterns
Assessing Retail Spaces and Public Amenities

Source: DataSense by PropertyGuru For Business

A third case study assessed the success of retail spaces and other public amenities using footfall, demographic data, and behavioural insights. DataSense studies of malls and retail spaces in Singapore and Malaysia provided valuable insights into:

  • Sources of foot traffic
  • Catchment areas
  • Effectiveness of retail concepts

Lowering Data Fluency Barriers with Technology

Recognising that data can be intimidating, we also introduced a new addition to DataSense called JIA at the World Cities Summit. JIA is a GenAI Assistant capable of answering questions about market trends, supply changes, and more. A second addition is an AI video feature that facilitates the auto-creation of videos based on listing images and text descriptions, which will be invaluable for PropertyGuru’s agent partners.

Insights from Other World Cities Summit Speakers

The World Cities Summit 2024 featured a diverse array of speakers and presentations, each contributing valuable insights into different aspects of urban planning development. Key themes and plenaries across the event included:

  • Rejuvenation and Sustainability of Cities: Explored strategies for urban renewal and maintaining liveability
  • Climate Change Adaptation: Addressed how cities can adapt to and thrive amid climate emergencies
  • Integration of Advanced Technologies: Focused on incorporating smart city solutions to enhance efficiency and sustainability
  • Sustainable Financing: Discussed innovative funding models for supporting urban development projects

Sharing the City Innovators Stage at the World Cities Summit with PropertyGuru Group included prominent organisations like City Developments Limited, Singapore Management University and Surbana Jurong. Their sessions highlighted unique case studies, projects and visions on the following topics:

  • Interior paints that purify the air
  • Reducing energy consumption to attain a net-zero future
  • Deploying direct air capture technologies to improve indoor environments
  • Turning food waste into nourishment for people and the planet for sustainable futures
  • Empowering local farmers and fortifying local farming ecosystems

Join PropertyGuru Group in Shaping Urban Planning and Development for Tomorrow

To conclude, reliable data and intelligent insights are essential for understanding the present and planning for the future. In our digital world, every second generates new data points, each contributing to a broader story and deeper insights. Harnessing this data effectively requires asking the right questions and applying creativity and expertise to uncover hidden insights.

With DataSense - PropertyGuru Group's proprietary real estate data and insights platform, you can uncover the hidden potential in your business, overcome challenges and make informed decisions confidently through actionable insights derived from accurate, credible, and up-to-date data sources.

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